Our research interests


We are broadly interested in how humans have impacted the ecology and evolution of insect-plant interactions in agriculture In particular, we focus on why there are insect pests and how they continue to be so successful.

Humans have strongly influenced insect pest evolution, genetics, and ecology by selecting particular strains of crop plants, cultivating crops, and moving them around the world. Our research focuses on how these human-mediated historical ecological, evolutionary, and genetic changes have facilitated insect pest outbreaks in agricultural systems.

By contrasting insects in their native systems with our current agricultural systems, we can start to understand how changes to the landscape, agroecosystems, crop plants, and the insects themselves have led to pest outbreaks. Our research studies these themes to determine how we can use ecological and evolutionary information to improve sustainable pest management.

Contact Information

Dr. Yolanda Chen

Department of Plant and Soil Sciences

University of Vermont

Burlington, VT 05401

Phone: (802) 656-2627

Email: Yolanda.Chen@uvm.edu

Keywords that describe our interests: insect ecology, populations genetics, genomics, epigenetics, evolutionary ecology, agriculture, domestication, rapid evolution, biogeography, phylogeography, invasive species, host range expansions, anthropogenic effects